Since 1979, Tamron has produced 90mm macro lenses whose optical quality has rivaled the extraordinary Micro-Nikkors. Some photographers claim to have preferred the Tamron over the Nikkor because of its superior handling of out-of-focus areas ("Bokeh").
More recently, Tamron have introduced a range of “digitally integrated” Di lenses, each of which has raised the bar in value-for-money optical performance. Now, we see the marriage of the famous 90mm macro to the most up-to-date Di technology. The result is the ...
Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 Model 272E
Like all the Tamron SP Di lenses released to date, the 90mm macro is made of black polycarbonate, with a rubberised focusing collar and metal lens mount. It shares a family resemblance with the superb 180mm macro, through the use of gold engraving and blue manual/autofocus markings.
In the hand, this lens feels compact and light, but never flimsy. It is too small to accommodate a tripod collar. However, this is not an IF lens, and grows by 50mm when focusing to the 1:1 position.
A welcome addition – and something the 180mm really should have had – is a full / limit switch. The action of this rotary switch is very light – very easy to use, but it is the one item on this lens that feels less than robust. I wonder at its durability.
Switching between manual and auto focus modes is as easy as sliding the focusing collar forwards or backwards. A distinct click ensures you do not change modes accidentally.
The front element is deeply recessed, so that the supplied hood is not really necessary. Conversely, the rear element is right up in the throat of the lens mount, and does not move during focusing. The lens barrel is thereby sealed against dust entering from the rear.
Being polycarbonate, the lens is lighter than an equivalent metal lens. However it feels solid and well made. I have no doubt that it will prove just as durable and reliable as a metal lens.
|Angle of view
|10 elements in 9 groups
|MOD (minimum object distance)
|0.29m / 11.4"
|86.5mm / 3.41"
|83.2mm / 3.28"
|405g / 14.3oz
|Number of diaphragm blades
|Standard accessory included
The new lens has the same optical configuration as that it replaces, plus the digital integration technology. The following is from a Tamron press release:
One major difference between digital cameras and film cameras is how internal reflections may occur and to what extent. These internal reflections can cause unwanted flare or ghosting on the final image. In a film camera, internal reflections can be created inside the mirror box of the camera or from light reflecting off the film surface itself. In a digital camera, stronger reflections can occur from light bouncing off the sensor, since CCD and CMOS sensors are almost mirror-like on their surface, making the problem more noticeable with digital cameras.
Unlike conventional lenses designed to cope with internal diffused reflections off the mirror box and film surface, Di lenses offer new anti-reflection countermeasures that are essential in lenses designed for use with digital cameras. The new SP AF90mm Di (Model 272E) features an improved coating technology that reduces the reflections that are likely to become a problem, to the absolute minimum.
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